One of the areas that I am trying to do the most improving in during 2015 comes to the pictures that I take for this blog. Very often I just take pictures right after I have finished preparing the meal so that I can have a picture to display, and the pictures do not always turn out to be the best that I can use but I go with it and that is what I have. I admit I am no professional photographer and I do not spend a lot of time working on the photography for the blog, but I would like to try to get a little bit better at it and take some nicer pictures to use. I would also like to be able to remember to take pictures more often. Very often I forget to take pictures of the side dishes that I have made and only remember it after we have already started eating, not leaving me with anything to take pictures of to put up.. This has kept me from putting a lot of recipes on the blog since I do not have pictures of the recipes I want to use. Today I decided I am going to use a couple of the recipes anyway so at least I can share them with you and let you know how they turned out for me even if I do not have pictures to show you. In particular here are 2 side dishes I tried recently, one from Williams-Sonoma and the other from Bobby Flay. They are for maple-glazed root vegetables and for mashed potatoes with buttermilk, black pepper and green onion. Both are really simple to make and make great side dishes for all kinds of meals.
Maple-Glazed Root Vegetables
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound turnips, peeled and cut into wedges 1/2-inch wide
1 1/4 pound carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into pieces 2-inches long and 1/2-inch wide
1 1/4 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut on the bias into pieces 2-inches long and 1/2-inch wide
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat, melt the butter. When the foaming subsides, add 1/3 each of the turnips, carrots and parsnips. Cook, without stirring, until the vegetables are browned on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl. Repeat the process to brown the remaining vegetables in 2 more batches.
Return all of the vegetables to the pan. Stir in the chicken broth, time and 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the vegetables are just tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. He uncover the pan and continue to cook the vegetables, stirring them occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are glazed, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and serve.
You can pretty much try this recipe with any root vegetables that you like, or just one single type of vegetable that you may happen to have on hand and it works pretty well. While this recipe is for a larger group of about 8 to 10, you could scale it down to fit your particular family size needs. I actually just made this again recently using just some baby carrots that I had on hand and it turned out perfectly, with the carrots having a really nice glaze on it thanks to the maple syrup. It is a great dish to remember to use for holidays or weekend meals and goes really well with beef, chicken, turkey, or pork. The mashed potato recipe is just as easy and just as versatile.
Mashed Potatoes with Buttermilk, Black Pepper and Green Onion
4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch dice
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 to 3 cups buttermilk
Coarsely ground black pepper
2 green onions, green and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover them with cold water by 2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes well. While the potatoes are cooking, combine the butter and buttermilk in a small sauce pan set over medium heat and bring it to a simmer.
Working in batches, pass the cooked potatoes through a food mill or a ricer (or just use a potato masher) over a pot. Stir the hot buttermilk mixture into the potatoes until they are smooth and creamy. Season the potatoes generously with pepper and add more salt as needed. Stir in the green onions. Cover and keep the potatoes warm over a simmering pot of water until you are ready to serve.
While everyone makes mashed potatoes pretty regularly, this is just a slight variation that gives you a little bit different flavor thanks to the buttermilk, pepper and green onion. I really like a lot of pepper in my potatoes so this was the perfect recipe since the pepper really shines through and the buttermilk really helps to make the potatoes extra creamy and add a little bit of tang to the flavor. Again this is a great dish that you can use for a holiday meal or a nice Sunday meal but it is also simple enough for you can make it during the week to have as a side dish for just about anything, including beef, chicken, turkey or pork. While using a ricer or food mill does produce great mashed potatoes and I do have a ricer to use, I very often find myself just using the potato masher to make them and they come out just fine. The ricer can be a little tedious to use when you have a lot of potatoes and some people like the mashed potatoes a little chunkier with the potato masher anyway.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!